On October 31, the Supreme Court directed the National Law University, Jodhpur, to submit a progress report within two months regarding the regularization of its faculty. The matter is related to the University’s practice of primarily employing teachers on a contractual basis. The Court had previously expressed concerns about the University’s heavy reliance on contractual staff.
The matter was presented before a Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
The Court issued this directive after the University informed the Bench that a new Vice Chancellor has assumed office and that a scheme has been formulated to appoint regular staff. Senior advocate Dhurv Mehta appeared on behalf of the University.
In previous proceedings, the Court observed that the University had no Vice Chancellor and that even the Registrar was a contractual staff member. The Court expressed serious reservations about the University’s significant reliance on contractual teachers.
However, the Bench indicated its preference for the National Law University to address the situation independently rather than having the Court intervene.
Therefore, in the recent order, while requesting a progress report, the Court also acknowledged that there is no harm in reviewing the issue given the ongoing reform measures.
The Supreme Court was tasked with hearing an appeal challenging the Rajasthan High Court’s order. In that case, the High Court, among other findings, declared the service regulations that allowed the employment of teachers on a contractual basis for a specific tenure or on an ad hoc basis, along with the provision for termination with one month’s notice, to be manifestly arbitrary and unreasonable. The High Court held that these regulations were in clear violation of Articles 14 (Equality before the law), 16 (Equality of opportunity in public employment), and 21 (Right to Life) of the Indian Constitution.
This development indicates the Supreme Court’s active involvement in overseeing the regularization of faculty positions at the National Law University, Jodhpur. The Court’s decision to seek a progress report reflects its commitment to addressing the concerns raised in the case and ensuring that the University complies with the relevant regulations and constitutional principles.
As the University proceeds with its efforts to regularize its faculty, it will be essential to monitor the progress and ensure that the reforms align with the legal requirements and principles outlined by the Supreme Court and the Rajasthan High Court.
The case underscores the importance of adherence to constitutional provisions and the principles of equality and fairness in the employment and regularization of faculty members at educational institutions. The Supreme Court’s proactive approach in this case sets a significant precedent for addressing similar concerns in the future and emphasizes the judiciary’s role in upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights and interests of all stakeholders in the education sector.